D&D 4th Edition Converting Builder (*.dnd4e) files into other formats.





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  1. #1
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    Converting Builder (*.dnd4e) files into other formats.

    Okay, so there is an RP event tomorrow that my girlfriend and I are running. We built the pregens and just last night, we stress-tested a gladiator tournament for timing and balance concerns.

    With all that covered, there's just one problem: accessibility. This isn't a problem at the table sessions where we have DMs running for five players and whose entire attention will be devoted to teaching and running the game for them.

    What I want to do is reduce the presentation of the pre-gen characters so that it's (a) more readable/accessible to non-hardcore players and (b) creates presentation limits so that players will concentrate on playing faster.

    Simply put, I want to format them to resemble something like the Game Day cards OR the LFR pregens. I started trying to do it myself, but the problem is that the Character Builder doesn't let you cut and paste textual content, so I have to hand type every power, and let me tell you, it gets old fast.

    So here's my question: Does anyone know of any tools out there to take the *.dnd4e data and spit it out into another document format, whether it's as PDFs, HTML or raw manipulable text?
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    Ignore vagabundo
    The information your looking for isn't stored in the file it is pulled from the encrypted database in the CB.

    So a lot of the text is missing.

    I wish the CB had more flexibility for doing this sort of thing, it needs a bunch of character sheet templates and scripts for pulling out information in printable form.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vagabundo View Post
    The information your looking for isn't stored in the file it is pulled from the encrypted database in the CB.
    Well that sucks.

    I didn't actually examine the file contents, but I get what you're saying: the *.dnd4e files wouldn't have the data necessary to spit out power details unless a given *.dnd4e converter actually references the CB database in the process of conversion.
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    If you download a .pdf printer you should be able to make .pdfs out of all of the sheets. I use Cutepdf, but any will do really.

    You'd just go to print the sheet like normal, but instead of your printer, you'd select the pdfprinter. That should cover you for making a .pdf. Other than that... I got nothing.
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    If you're somewhat proficient in Excel, and can understand simple programing, I've got an Excel/visual basic sheet that chops up the character summary and reformats it.

    You need to enter in powers and abilities while it's building the character, but it saves them to a list in the program so that you don't have to enter them again if another character has the same power.

    It'll take some work, but if you understand basic programing grammar, it shouldn't be too hard for you to figure out how to break it apart and make it format things the way you want.
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  • #6
    If you have a DDI account, upload them to iPlay4e - play 4e Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) online! to get easy click-through access to the text of the powers. Iplay4e doesn't require an account, but the links to the DDI Compendium do.

  • #7
    Well, the .dnd4e file is nothing but a text file with XML in it. XML is usually transformed via XSL into other markup such as HTML. XML can also be parsed by any number of other programs and converted into something else. Those other programs need to know what to do with the data though and are usually custom-written. Almost every programming/scripting language has libraries that aid in manipulating and reading XML files.

    With all the tech stuff out of the way, you could maybe try using iplay4e.com. It's for running a character from a computer, but does simplify things. It's also a good example of what you can do with an XSL transformation.

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    Ignore ourchair
    Quote Originally Posted by twilsemail View Post
    If you download a .pdf printer you should be able to make .pdfs out of all of the sheets. I use Cutepdf, but any will do really.

    You'd just go to print the sheet like normal, but instead of your printer, you'd select the pdfprinter. That should cover you for making a .pdf. Other than that... I got nothing.
    Thanks, but I need more than just the .pdf printer. I use Cutepdf and Foxit myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nytmare
    If you're somewhat proficient in Excel, and can understand simple programing, I've got an Excel/visual basic sheet that chops up the character summary and reformats it.

    You need to enter in powers and abilities while it's building the character, but it saves them to a list in the program so that you don't have to enter them again if another character has the same power.

    It'll take some work, but if you understand basic programing grammar, it shouldn't be too hard for you to figure out how to break it apart and make it format things the way you want.
    Does it also allow the rules text of the powers to be visible, or will I have to hand-type that stuff myself?

    As for iplay4e, the problem is I'm running a gladiator tournament. With 20 people.
    This means, that it will be impractical if we don't all have wireless devices. AND DDi subscriptions.

    The software solution I'm trying to get is a way for me to get a sheet that is much more compact than the CB sheet, possibly by using something that can take info from .dnd4e and repurpose it into a better presentation (meaning not 4 pages long and eating up tons of ink) OR somebody can give me 20 lvl 6 pregens that look like the LFR black & white pregens.
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    Unfortunately CB doesn't do it and the only other current alternative is to write a decent amount of code and XSLT to generate something like what you want. If there is a program out there that does this I don't know about it. Unfortunately WotC has been handing Cease & Desist letters to anyone that releases code that works with DDI lately. Since a dnd4e file only has references to the Compendium data that largely kills any real chance of getting these kinds of utilities written. Frankly I have probably half the code required sitting on my hard drive right now, but it isn't going anywhere.

  • #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ourchair View Post
    Simply put, I want to format them to resemble something like the Game Day cards OR the LFR pregens. I started trying to do it myself, but the problem is that the Character Builder doesn't let you cut and paste textual content, so I have to hand type every power, and let me tell you, it gets old fast.
    I've wanted this feature out of CB since the first day I saw it. (Kid Snide thinks to himself: "This is great, but why does it print out this crappy character sheet when WotC already showed us character sheets that are real easy to understand?")

    -KS

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